How to Make a Flannelgraph

The primitive flannelgraph is still a wonderful educational tool.


  1. Image titled Make a Flannelgraph Step 1
    Cover a 24" x 18" cardboard with flannel, fuzzy side out. This will serve as your background. Choose a neutral color of flannel, such as pale blue. Glue the flannel on the back of cardboard. Do not use glue on front. Allow glue to dry and the background is basically finished. Set it on an easel.
  2. Image titled Make a Flannelgraph Step 2
    On stiff paper, print colorful figures or shapes that are appropriate to your lesson or activity. Cut out the paper shapes, leaving a very large border around edge.
  3. Image titled Make a Flannelgraph Step 3
    Lay more flannel material on work surface, fuzzy side down, wrong side up.
  4. Image titled Make a Flannelgraph Step 4
    Cover back of paper shape with thin layer of glue, edge to edge. Place shape, glue side down, onto flannel material. Repeat for each paper shape.
  5. Image titled Make a Flannelgraph Step 5
    Trim paper/flannel shapes. Leave a thin border to outline the shape. Allow glue to dry and you are ready for an exciting class.
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    The flannel-backed shapes are placed on the flannel-surfaced background. The shapes stay where they are placed because of the fuzzy nap on both surfaces and the angle of the easel. They appear to be magnetic.


  • This may or may not be a creative alternative to PowerPoint in your next board meeting. Distributing flannel figures to each member and calling them up to place them in your presentation may have a kindergarten response. You may be expected to provide graham crackers and milk.
  • If a larger background is desired, cover a 36" x 24" cardboard.
  • Children love to place the figures and shapes on the background. They also enjoy taking the inexpensive shapes home as a reward.
  • Be creative. Create shapes with markers or watercolors. Shapes with a bold outline work best.
  • If a sturdier background is needed, use masonite or thin plywood for background substrate rather than cardboard.
  • You can also purchase "flocked" paper specifically for use as backing for flannelgraph figures.
  • For another approach to making flannelgraph figures, glue one or two small strips of sandpaper to the back of your paper figure (preferably printed or mounted on relatively heavy stock such as 110 pound cardstock). The sandpaper will allow it to cling to the flannel background.
  • Background can be painted using watercolor paints or thin poster paint. Do not apply paint too thickly as it can matt the fuzz of the flannel. Lightly fluff up the nap of the flannel after paint dries completely.

Things You'll Need

  • flannel
  • cardboard or masonite
  • glue
  • easel
  • scissors
  • stiff printer paper
  • computer printer or markers
  • happy children

Article Info

Categories: Kids' Crafts